The Joyous Thanksgiving of Messiah & His People

a brief study of Psalm 100, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 12 Feb 2010
Psalm 100 is like a concluding crescendo for the series of Psalms beginning at Psalm 93. These psalms celebrate the kingly reign of Jehovah. Psalm 100 is a hymn of high praise and thanksgiving to Jehovah for His glorious reign.
The German commentator Karl Delitzsch remarks that: “Among the Psalms of triumph and thanksgiving this stands preeminent, as rising to the highest point of joy and grandeur.”
Dispensational commentators feel that this psalm is prophetic about the Millennial reign because of the universal call to all men to enter into the temple to worship the LORD. They feel that this psalm must be taken literally so that the gates and courts must be referring to actual gates and courts of a temple to be built in Jerusalem after a great tribulation over the world.
Calvin’s view, it appears to me, is much more biblical and tenable. He says,

“…since [the psalmist] invites the whole of the inhabitants of the earth indiscriminately to praise Jehovah, he seems, in the spirit of prophecy, to refer to the period when the Church would be gathered out of different nations.”

In other words, this psalm, when it was sung by the Jews of old anticipated the gathering of the Israel of God from all nations in the last days.

In a similar way, when Christians sing this psalm today in these last days, we are,—in union with Christ,—calling upon God’s people everywhere in the world to join us to worship Jehovah. Of course, the call must go out to the world because all men have a duty to worship the LORD. But like the call to repent and believe in Christ, it would only be heeded by God’s elect.

Thus, we may entitle this psalm, “The Joyous Thanksgiving of Messiah and His People.”

It has basically two sections, which are closely related. In the first section, we call upon all of God’s people to Worship the LORD joyfully. In the second section, we call upon all of God’s people to Worship Him Thankfully.

1. Worship Him Joyfully

1  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.   2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

The word rendered ‘serve’ in verse 2 speaks of worship as our highest act of worship towards the Lord. It carries the same idea as in Hebrews where we are taught to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

But here in Psalm 100, we are calling upon all God’s people to worship the Lord joyfully with hearts filled with gladness. How to do so? By making a joyful noise in cheerful singing.

This is a call that no one in the world will be able to heed except those whose sin has been forgiven, whose heart has been changed and made glad. This is why verse 3 makes it clear that this call to joyful worship will not be received by everyone in the world, but only to those who are the LORD’s people, or the sheep of His pasture.

To this end Calvin observes that the phrase “he hath made us” speaks not of creation in general, but of spiritual regeneration. We are the workmanship of God “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

Those whose heart has been changed, whose lives have been transformed, know that they have sufficient reasons to praise and thank the Lord with joy—even in the midst of painful and frustrating circumstances in life.

In fact, when they turn their eyes unto the LORD to worship Him, they find their troubles as it were, melting away or becoming strangely dim. They realise that nothing is too great that can overshadow the love and glory of the LORD.

They find their hearts lifted up to join with God’s people in union with Christ to praise the Father for His greatness and love.

And so let us remind and admonish one another to worship the Lord cheerfully. Let us sing this call cheerfully that others around us my join in cheerful praise. Joyfulness in psalm-singing rubs off very quickly.

But not only are we to worship the Lord cheerfully, we must worship Him thankfully.

2.Worship Him Thankfully

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

As we mentioned earlier, some think that these words must be taken literally so that the call is really to enter into the temple in Jerusalem to worship. But I think most of us would be able to see how this is rather a call to join in public worship wherever God’s people are.

The Jews of old might sing it to call one another to enter into the temple to worship with sacrifices of thanksgiving that pointed to Christ.

The early Christians during the days of the apostles might use the same psalm to call upon believers to enter into the synagogues to worship the Lord.

Our fathers in the faith during the 16th Century Reformation might have sung it to call upon all faithful believers to enter the cathedrals or meeting houses where the Gospel was faithfully preached.

Today we may use the same psalm to call upon one another to enter into worship with grateful and thankful hearts.

When we enter into public worship, we are coming into the presence of God almighty, our loving heavenly Father who has redeemed us out of darkness and sin by the precious blood of Christ our Lord. We are coming unto the LORD who is good, whose mercy or covenant loving kindness is everlasting; whose faithfulness endures to all generations (v. 5).

How shall we enter into worship, but with hearts of joy and praise and especially thanksgiving? How do you enter into worship, beloved brethren, youths and children?

Do you enter with an attitude of boredom and disinterest —you would rather be somewhere else? Or do you enter feeling tired and sleepy because of a late night perhaps playing with your mobile phone under the blanket? Or do you enter with a heavy heart because of the burdens you bear at home or at work or even in church? Or do you enter feeling flustered and frustrated because of the children and the cares of the world that flood your heart?

Oh will you not rather enter into worship with joy and thanksgiving in your heart.

Are you sleepy or tired or bored? Think about what the Lord has done for you and how you deserve his condemnation. Confess your ingratitude to the Lord. Ask Him to help you to have the right attitude in worship.

Are your hearts heavy with burden? Think about the love of the Lord for you and His promise that He cares for you. Cast your burdens upon Him because He cares for you.

Remember that when you come into worship, you are coming before the thrice holy God who is merciful and true, whose covenant loving kindness and faithfulness endures through the generations. Therefore…

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.


Psalm 100 is a very short psalm. But it is exceedingly full and profound. It is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise designed to prepare our hearts and mould our attitudes for God-honouring worship.

In these short psalm there are seven exhortations: (1) “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD”; (2) “Serve the LORD with gladness”; (3) “come before his presence with singing”; (4) “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving”; (5) “Enter into his courts with praise”; (6) “be thankful unto him”; and (7) “bless his name.”

Will you take heed to these exhortations, beloved brethren? Will you not stir yourself to joy and gratitude with these same words as you would call upon your fellow believers around you to do the same?

Oh will you not sing this psalm cheerfully and joyfully both to encourage one another and to praise the Lord your God and Father who saved you by the precious blood of Christ shed on Calvary’s Tree for you? Amen. Ω